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The Year 2005

The year 2005 was dominated by the retirement of various aircraft types. Three aircraft type would retire after the airshow Cazaux in the southern part of France. The Mirage III, Mirage IV and Jaguar are all phased out in 2005. The airshow was the goodbye party of these aircraft. The absolute highlight of this year was the airshow at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The Air Force organized a very good airshow during the Open Days of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The last visit of the year was the Zeltweg Airpower. This event was the goodbye party of the Saab Draken. The year 2005 was a quiet year in which I did not visit many airshows; I had not much time for visiting more airshows.


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The End of the Dassault Mirage III & Mirage IV

The Armée de l'Air, part 1; Cazaux, June 12, 2005

After many years it was time to say goodbye for 2 members of the Mirage family during the Meeting National at Cazaux. Both the Mirage III and the Mirage IV are going to be retired in 2005. The Mirage III is still operational at the CEV. The Dassault Mirage III is a supersonic fighter which was designed by Marcel Dassault in the 50s. The Mirage IV is operational at Mont-de-Marsan in the photo reconnaissance role. The aircraft design was based on the Dassault Mirage III. It was for years the number 1 aircraft of French nuclear department.

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The End of the French SEPECAT Jaguar

The Armée de l'Air, part 2; Cazaux, June 12, 2005

Also the French Jaguar is going to be decommissioned in addition to the retirement of the Mirage III and Mirage IV. The SEPECAT Jaguar is a fighter-bomber which was developed by a French-English partner- ship at the beginning of the 60s. The Jaguar was developed by Breguet and the British Aerospace Corporation. The Meeting National in Cazaux was used for the final public event of the Jaguar. The Jaguar will be retired after 35 years of operational service. The Jaguars at Saint-Dizier are going to be replaced by the Dassault Rafale.

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The Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2005, part 1

The Tactical Helicopter Group; Gilze-Rijen, June 15-20, 2005

The history of the Tactische Helikopter Groep Koninklijke Luchtmacht (THG-KLu) (Tactical Helicopter Group Netherlands Air Force) goes back to the 50s when the Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GPLV) (Light Aircraft Group) was founded. The Tactical Helicopter Group of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is the organization which contains all Dutch helicopter units. The THG-KLu is divided over 2 airfields, name- ly; Gilze-Rijen Air Base with the attack helicopters and Soesterberg Air Base with the transport helicopters.

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The Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2005, part 2

The no 298 Squadron; Gilze-Rijen, June 15-20, 2005

The first squadron of the THG-KLu is the no 298 Squadron. This unit is stationed at Soesterberg Air Base. The no 298 Squadron is flying the Boeing CH-47D Chinook since 1996. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has 13 Chinook helicopters in operational service. The main task of the squadron is the heavy air transport task. The no 298 Squa- dron was founded on March 1, 1950, as the no 6 Artillerie Verkennings Afdeling (ARVA) (Artillery Reconnaissance Division) at Ypenburg Air Base. The unit moved in 1966 to Soesterberg Air Base.

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The Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2005, part 3

The no 300 Squadron; Gilze-Rijen, June 15-20, 2005

The second squadron of the THG-KLu of the RNLAF is the no 300 Squadron. The no 300 Squadron is stationed at Soesterberg Air Base. From 1996, the air force received 17 Cougar helicopters which are all assigned to the no 300 Squadron. In addition to the Cougar, the unit also flies 4 Allouette III helicopters. The no 300 Squadron was foun- ded by Polish pilots during the Second World War. The unit was officially established in October 1962 as part of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The unit moved to Soesterberg Air Base in 1995.

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The Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2005, part 4

The no 301 & 302 Squadron; Gilze-Rijen, June 15-20, 2005

The third and fourth squadron of the Dutch THG-KLu are the no 301 and the no 302 Squadron. Both units are equipped with the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. The Dutch government decided to purchase 30 AH-64D Apache helicopters on April 7, 1995. A contract of more than 1.3 billion guilders was signed for the purchase of 30 AH-64D attack helicopters. The helicopters would be delivered between 1998 and 2002. The no 302 Squadron will be migrated with the no 301 Squadron from June 9, 2005, due to cutbacks.

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The Zeltweg Airpower 2005

Farewell of the Saab Draken; Zeltweg, June 25, 2005

The Saab J-35Ö Draken was purchased by the Austrian Air Force in 1987. The Draken will be phased out at the end of 2005 after a period of 18 years. The Draken will probably be replaced by the Eurofighter. A major flight pass with Drakens was held during the Zeltweg Airpower in 2005 to honor this Swedish aircraft. Austria bought 24 Drakens which were updated from J-35D to J-35Ö. These Drakens were all ex Swedish Air Force Drakens which were converted to J-35Ö. The letter Ö in the type designation J-35Ö represents Österreich (Austria).

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The Irish Air Corps

Flying the Allouette III; Knock Airport, July 29, 2005

During my holiday in Ireland in 2005 I suddenly got the chance to get some shots of the Irish Allouette III helicopter. I had the opportunity to visit Knock Airport in the western part of Ireland. An Allouette III helicopter of the Irish Air Corps landed in front of me during this visit. It was the first time I got an Allouette III of the Irish Air Corps in front of my lens. I was very happy with this helicopter, because you have to come to Ireland to see one; they don't visit the main land of Europe in normal situations. The helicopter was painted in a light gray scheme.

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Gilze-Rijen, Runway 28

Gilze-Rijen Air Base in 2005; Gilze-Rijen, 2005

The year 2005 was not my most active year at the head of the runway 28 at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. I had visited this location just 1 more time since the Open Dagen in June. I saw 9 Apaches by coincidence on the Redskin platform during this beautiful morning in October. The A- paches were prepared to go to Poland for an exercise for the next 2 weeks. There was no time for me to wait for the departure of these helicopters. The Apaches were parked on the platform under sunny weather conditions. It's pretty rare to see so many Apaches at 1 line.

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